Opinion & Analysis

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Utah Legislature should look to keep school board elections nonpartisan

Utah's Senate has passed a bill injecting partisan politics into elections for the state school board and for school boards in large districts. Attempts to turn state and local school board races into partisan contests are solutions looking for a problem, and they would create far too many new problems of their own.

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Stop bickering over standards and fund schools

Recent proposals gloss over the fact that Arizona's education system is already underfunded when compared to the rest of the nation. If Arizona funded an equivalent of the national average per pupil, its classroom percentage would far exceed the 61 percent goal set by the governor.

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Vouchers increase public, private school gap

With voucher enrollment growing dramatically, it’s worth considering how long the public school system can remain in place. At the same time lawmakers are preparing to shift dollars from public schools serving students from poverty to wealthier school districts, they also are preparing to steer millions more to private schools.

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Student suspension has a role in keeping order

The attention being focused on suspensions is legitimate. Yet, at the same time, a school’s primary obligation is to maintain a positive learning environment. That means disciplining, and sometimes removing, an unruly youth. No one said keeping order was easy.

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Funding needed for non-classroom spending

Between the governor's budget and policymakers' statements, one would think Arizona public school districts are flunking money management. They cite percentages of budgets not spent in the classroom, usually accompanied by intimations that non-classroom funding is superfluous. Non-classroom spending does not mean nonessential spending.

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Georgia should extend flexibility to all schools

If turning around struggling schools starts with flexibility, why doesn't the state extend flexibility to all schools? At the same time the General Assembly touts school-based autonomy, it also attempts to micromanage schools, passing laws that control how much schools spend in the classroom.

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K12, higher education worlds must collide to improve student outcomes

Too often legislators and educators worry more about K12 versus higher education competition for education funding than about how to combine resources to make significant improvements.

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The high school class that makes people richer

Evidence that financial education works is beginning to surface. Researchers at the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin recently found a direct tie between personal finance classes in high school and higher credit scores as young adults. Now, national results from a high school “budget challenge” further build the case.

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No Child Left Behind and testing help hold schools accountable

Annual, statewide testing should be saved, and it can be if moderates in both parties fight off special interests. But perhaps the most likely outcome will be to delay the decision for two more years, leaving No Child Left Behind and testing to be tackled by the next president.

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How to end 'teaching to the test'

The better way to ensure that test prep doesn't replace creative, stimulating lessons in class is to relax the law's rigid reliance on scores as a measure of school and teacher performance, and to tone down its harshly punitive elements.

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